Indian wind energy companies are looking to invest in offshore wind farm projects as the government plans to significantly increase the annual capacity added in the wind energy sector as a whole.
Indian wind energy giant Suzlon Energy has announced plans to set up a 300 MW offshore wind energy pilot project in the state of Gujarat. The integrated single window policy for offshore wind energy projects which is expected to be launched by next year has triggered Suzlon to come up with this project. According to Tulsi Tanti, Chairman of Suzlon Group, techno-commercial study for the proposed wind project is underway. The commencement of the project construction is expected by next year.
This announcement came just days after the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) signed an agreement with public sector companies and other partners to set up joint venture company for the establishment of country’s first offshore wind energy project in Gujarat.
Several techno-commercial and environmental studies are currently being conducted mainly along the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for identification of the potential zones for offshore wind energy development.
Suzlon Energy, currently positioned as the world’s fifth-largest supplier of wind turbines, has gained considerable experience in the manufacture and installation of wind turbines in different parts of the world. Its continued presence in Europe, China, Japan, and Australia will help the company to start its offshore wind energy business in India.
While Suzlon itself does not manufacture wind turbines suitable for offshore projects, Senvion SE (formerly REpower Systems SE) – acquired by Suzlon – manufactures the world’s largest commercially available offshore wind turbine, which is being used in several wind projects in Europe.
Gujarat offers a conducive environment for wind energy development due to a vast coastline. Wind energy is the most matured renewable energy technology in India, with installation of more than 22 GW onshore projects all over the country. There is immense potential for the development of offshore wind farms in India due to the presence of 7,600 km coastline. Announcement of Draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy and the expected launch of a National Offshore Wind Energy Authority have further boosted the confidence of investors in the growing offshore wind energy sector.
India currently adds about 2,500 MW of wind energy capacity every year. The new government plans to increase annual capacity addition to as high as 10,000 MW. This endeavour would involve tapping sites that are slightly less conducive to wind energy generation and using state-of-the-art wind turbine technology to boost generation. The government is expected to launch a National Wind Energy Mission soon to achieve this target.